REVIT TO AUTODESK LIVE WITH BIM + VR

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Industry
  • Design Visualization
Subject
  • Interoperability
  • Lighting
  • Importing Assets
  • Environment
  • Simulation and Effects
  • Workflow
Products
  • LIVE
  • 3ds Max
  • Stingray
Skill Level
  • Beginner
Duration
60 min

THE ARCHITECTURE

The building used in our real-time architectural visualization case study is a contemporary design that uses elements of classical architecture. Its rhythmic colonnades and monumentality faces the human scale and absorbs the baroque play of light and shadow made by natural and artificial lighting through the columns that generate full and empty spaces. The louvers also come as scenic elements in the lighting game, beyond their goal of environmental comfort. The use of white color brings weight to the architecture.

Revit Renderings Preview


REVIT – PROJECT DEVELOPMENT PREVIEW WITH CLOUD RENDERING

As the case study architects, Hannah Grillo and Diego Santana took care of the architectural project. After they finished it, Hannah and I brought the project to life in Autodesk Revit. We constantly used Revit’s Cloud Rendering; we did more than 400 renderings on Autodesk’s 360 servers! That was awesome because we could continue to work on the scene without having to stop for renderings that would take about 30 minutes on our 24 CPU core servers just to preview. Another good thing was that all the renderings were kept in the cloud like a time-machine. Check out this one from the beginning of the project:

Autodesk Revit Cloud Rendering
(Beginning of the project)


BIM OBJECTS AND GEOMETRY

In the commercial world, nobody likes to reinvent the wheel. In the middle of the project we partnered with MyBoxFree, a distribution platform with real-world commercial product content in BIM and CAD environments. Their objective is to empower architects and other designers to use BIM product libraries from the earliest design stages, making it possible to estimate costs, mitigate geometric errors and work closer to a real aesthetic, which was exactly our goal. They were extremely helpful and have a plugin connecting their database directly to Revit. MyBoxFree is part of a big architecture company in São Paulo, Brazil called iCuby.

This gave us the objects with BIM info; however, they were not made for real-time viz, so paying attention to the materials and texture coordinates was essential. Special attention has to be paid to the UVs for light baking, as they were later used to tweak the scene to achieve photorealistic results. Here are some of the objects we used.

TIP
Don’t forget to name your objects properly so you can easily find them in the Stingray Asset Browser if you want to tweak them.

MATERIALS

There are several Do’s and Don’ts for materials. Maintaining a good material library with proper naming is essential to tweak them later, and your project will be streamlined and have a smaller size.. Remember, the more materials you have the more work you might need to do in the future if you’re going to tweak anything. Try to combine all similar materials into one type of material, like the following example.

Bad naming convention Good naming convention

?TIP
This also reduces the size of the Revit file and improves performance in your BIM library!

THE ENVIRONMENT

The environment had to be built thinking about the empty space around the building, even if we have a modelled horizon like in the Autodesk Live default environment (mountains in the distance). We made a proper terrain to hide the flat, boring part of the horizon. See the wrong and the correct way below.

Wrong
(Horizon appears too much)

Correct
(No horizon and adding mountains makes it beautiful! You’ll see it later.)


We then added trees, but be careful, trees are frames per second (FPS) killers because of shadow casting. This can be fixed in several ways, the easiest is to populate a specific type of tree that you’ll later disable its shadows in the Stingray optimization part. But if your project does not require that or you do not want to tweak the scene later, just watch out for the quantity of trees and make sure you have a good feeling on how much processing your GPU can take. Especially if you’re thinking about VR, artificial lights generating lots of shadows can create a big performance hit; remember the target is 60 to 90 FPS for a comfortable VR experience.


NATURAL LIGHTING - SUN

Autodesk LIVE has a special lighting system for the daylight system simulation. It perfectly follows the coordinates and lighting configuration you’re setting in your Revit 3D View. That means Azimuth and Altitude will later be used to simulate the lighting during the entire year in real-time!!! This is a very useful feature setup to create the best shadowing for your design or realistic shadowing for maximum simulation.


Sun Settings in Revit
(See that we prepared an specific configuration)
Graphics Display Settings in Revit
(See that we prepared an specific configuration)


ARTIFICIAL LIGHTING – ROOF, ROOMS, EXTERIOR, ETC.

This part is crucial for realistic results and performance. We used all types of lights in this project: planar, omni, and spot. We did this because lighting is not just important for illumination; it adds an artistic design element. But be careful, when dealing with real-time engines you should avoid using a high quantity of light emitters for performance reasons. After you finish your project documentation, planning and BOM, you may want to replace some lights with strategically placed self-illuminated objects to generate similar results with improved performance. This can be done in either Revit or Stingray. For example:


Autodesk Revit Cloud Rendering
There are 4 planar lights and 4 spot lights, producing shadows and participating in the global direct and indirect illumination.


Autodesk Live Rendering

There is a self-illuminating object replacing the planar lights in the ceiling, 2 dynamic artificial lights, and 3 of the original spot lights.


We did the same for most of the building’s spaces, including the living room and the exterior:


Autodesk Revit Cloud Rendering
There are dozens of lights in this scene.


Autodesk Live Rendering
We replaced the planar lights with self-illuminated planes and replaced some of the lights with strategically positioned omni lights.


LET’S GO LIVE!

After these tips, you should be able to prepare your Revit scene with decent quality and performance for an out of the box, fast workflow in Autodesk LIVE. However, despite all the tips and tricks, you’ll learn more by experience and will recognize the things we said here. Now… Let’s go LIVE! See you in the next article where we’ll begin with the results of our work here in Revit and start tweaking the scene in Autodesk Stingray, the core engine used to power Autodesk LIVE. I really hope you enjoyed this as much as we did!


You can experience Autodesk - ROWS scene by using Live VIEWER, you can download them for free at: http://area.autodesk.com/LIVE-samples


Posted By
Tags
  • LIVE
  • 3ds Max
  • Stingray
  • Interoperability
  • Lighting
  • Importing Assets
  • Environment
  • Simulation and Effects
  • Workflow
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